Keep up to date with what's happening at Switched On Group as we continue to enhance environments for whānau, businesses and communities across Aotearoa.

Here, we'll share stories about our kaimahi, projects, community kaupapa and successes in the industry. 

Partnering to share mental health stories and tools for wellbeing

10 October 2022

Share this video with the tradespeople in your life to start a conversation about
mental health and show them you’ve got their back!

For Switched On Group, taking action on mental health in the construction industry is personal. Chief Executive Chris Hughes lost his brother Jonny to suicide in early 2019, and has since discovered that many team members within the business have also been touched by suicide in some way.

“Our industry has alarming suicide rates, with nearly one person in the construction business in Aotearoa taking their life each week. Many of our people know first-hand what it is like
to lose someone to suicide, and we believe that a long-term, whole-of-sector approach is needed to address this issue. For us, this looks like reaching out and partnering with our team and other businesses to take action,” Hughes says.

As part of its Mental Health Awareness Week activities this year, Switched On Group turned to wellbeing partners MATES in Construction, simPRO and O-Studio to kōrero about tools that can support tradespeople to enhance their wellbeing. Team members were also invited to share their experiences and advice for their peers, with Health, Safety, Learning AND Development Lead Kimberley Schofield and Carpenter Colin Blair stepping up alongside Chief Executive Chris Hughes.

The result is this video story, which is being used to start conversations among the more than 600 subcontractor businesses that Switched On Group works with. Ultimately, the Group wants this conversation to be shared far and wide to encourage trades businesses across Aotearoa to take action.

“I am so proud of our team and wellbeing partners for coming together to share why taking care of each other and our hauora is vitally important to the mahi we do in construction.
We want to encourage our industry to make wellbeing a priority topic for discussion every week.” Hughes says.

Switched On Group has several initiatives as part of its ‘wellbeing calendar’, including MATES training, men’s health events, free counselling for staff and whānau, a flexible working policy, on-site massages, talks from wellbeing industry leaders and regular mental health conversations as part of trades toolbox talks. The Group is also exploring a wellbeing membership for staff to access regular mindfulness, yoga and other support.

To learn more about our wellbeing approach or to discuss how we could work
together to promote positive mental health, email Chief Executive Chris Hughes at:

Need help now?

  • Call MATES in Construction on 0800 111 315
  • 1737: Free call or text 1737 to talk to a trained counsellor
  • Anxiety New Zealand: 0800 ANXIETY (0800 269 4389)
  • 0800 111 757 or text 4202
  • Lifeline: 0800 543 354
  • Mental Health Foundation: 09 623 4812
  • Rural Support Trust: 0800 787 254
  • Samaritans: 0800 726 666
  • Suicide Crisis Helpline: 0508 828 865 (0508 TAUTOKO)
  • Supporting Families in Mental Illness: 0800 732 825
  • Youthline: 0800 376 633, free text 234, or email
  • In a life-threatening situation, call 111.